Downtown Victoria Tour

Government Street – 1600 Block

1600 Government Street

This building at 1600 Government Street and 588 Pandora Avenue was originally built in 1913 by architects William D’Orly Rochefort and Eben W. Sankey for the Island Amusement Company, which opened it as the Kinemacolour Theatre.

Its operation as a theatre ended in 1935. It is currently divided into two commercial strata units and nine residential condominiums.

1600 Government Street, originally built in 1913 as the Kinemacolour Theatre.

1600 Government Street, originally built in 1913 as the Kinemacolour Theatre.

1600 Government Street, originally built in 1913 as the Kinemacolour Theatre.

1600 Government Street, originally built in 1913 as the Kinemacolour Theatre.

Here is a map showing the location of 1600 Government Street:

Here is a Google Street View image of 1600 Government Street:

Additional Information About 1600 Government Street

1600 Government Street is currently divided into two commercial strata units (101-1600 Government Street and 102-1600 Government Street) and 9 residential strata (condominium) units. The residential strata units are listed at 588 Pandora Avenue.

  • Assessed Value (July 2017) 101-1600 Government Street: $691,000
  • Assessed Value (July 2017) 102-1600 Government Street: $794,000
  • Assessed Value (July 2016) 101-1600 Government Street: $683,000
  • Assessed Value (July 2016) 102-1600 Government Street: $785,000
  • Assessed Value (July 2015) 101-1600 Government Street: $638,000
  • Assessed Value (July 2014) 101-1600 Government Street: $643,000
  • Assessed Value (July 2015) 102-1600 Government Street: $733,000
  • Assessed Value (July 2014) 102-1600 Government Street: $739,000
  • Assessed Value (July 2017) 588 Pandora Avenue – 9 residential strata units: ranging between $374,800 and $356,000
  • Assessed Value (July 2016) 588 Pandora Avenue – 9 residential strata units: ranging between $304,100 and $356,000
  • Assessed Value (July 2015) 588 Pandora Avenue – 9 residential strata units: ranging between $280,200 and $356,000
  • Assessed Value (July 2014) 588 Pandora Avenue – 9 residential strata units: ranging between $272,700 and $345,000

A Brief History of 1600 Government Street

In April 1896, Mary Elizabeth Bell inherited this land (Lot 441) from Alfred J. Langley.

In 1913 the Island Amusement Company leased the land from Mary Bell and retained architects William D’Orly Rochefort and Eben Wallace Sankey to design and built this structure as a motion picture theatre. The original building permit, issued the Island Amusement Co. by the City of Victoria in February 1913, describes a “new brick building, 3 storey, six rooms” to be used as a “theatre. mov. P.” with an estimated construction cost of $30,000.

The theatre opened as the KinemaColour Theatre, named for an early European process for presenting colour movies. But KinemaColour was outdated by 1920 and the Island Amusement Company operated the theatre under various names, including the Variety Theatre and the Coliseum Theatre, until 1935.

In December 1935, during the Great Depression, building owner Mary Bell lost the property to the City of Victoria for tax arrears. Under City of Victoria ownership the theatre was removed from the building and the building usage was changed. It became a 7-Up Bottling plant, then the Victoria Roller Bowl rollerskating rink in the 1940’s, then the Victoria Ballroom during the 1950’s. As a ballroom it was reputed to have best hardwood dance floor in Victoria.

It later became the Old Age Pensioner’s Association Hall.

The building is currently divided in 2 commercial strata units and 9 residential condominiums.

Here are two 1913 architectural drawings of 1600 Government Street by Rochefort & Sankey, showing the exterior and interior of the KInemaColor Theatre.

1913 architects' drawing by Rochfort & Sankey of the exterior of the KinemaColor Theatre, 1600 Government Street (Victoria Online Sightseeing Tours collection)

1913 architects’ drawing by Rochfort & Sankey of the exterior of the KinemaColor Theatre, 1600 Government Street (Victoria Online Sightseeing Tours collection)

 

1913 architects' drawing of the interior of the KinemaColor Theatre, Government Street (Victoria Online Sightseeing Tours collection)

1913 architects’ drawing of the interior of the KinemaColor Theatre, Government Street (Victoria Online Sightseeing Tours collection)

 

Here are some early 20th century advertisements for the theaters which occupied this building:

1919 advertisement for the Variety Theater, 1600 Government Street. The feature is The Wild Strain, starring Nell Shipman, who was born in Victoria.

1919 advertisement for the Variety Theater, 1600 Government Street. The feature is The Wild Strain, starring Nell Shipman, who was born in Victoria. (Victoria Online Sightseeing Tours collection)

1919 Advertisement For The Wild Strain

The Wild Strain was a movie starring Nell Shipman, who had been born in Victoria.

Notice that the theatre’s name had been changed from the Kinema Color to the Variety.

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1926 advertisement for the Coliseum Theatre (originally the Kinemacolor Theatre), 1600 Government Street. This advertisement is for a live theatre production of Up In Mabel's Room. (Victoria Online Sightseeing Tours collection)

1926 advertisement for the Coliseum Theatre (originally the Kinemacolor Theatre), 1600 Government Street. This advertisement is for a live theatre production of Up In Mabel’s Room. (Victoria Online Sightseeing Tours collection)

1926 Advertisement For Up In Mabel’s Room

This was a 1926 live stage production of Up In Mabel’s Room.

Notice that the name had been changed to the Coliseum Theatre.

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